Development of technology has always been a marker of changes in existing social habits. Probably the greatest technological invention in the last couple of decades is the Internet. Its rise and expansion blurred geographical boundaries and created an open ecosystem for development of different fields. The resources available online and the web-based technologies improved many professional activities.  Translation industry is one of the fields that was deeply impacted by web-based technologies called cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a relatively recent trend that increasingly affects many aspects of our personal and professional lives. It refers to services and applications that are offered on-demand, meaning that their infrastructure is stored on hosted servers while the service is available via the Web. The services are most often charged on pay-per-use basis and are in the form of software, infrastructure or the whole platform.  The most popular forms are online storage and backup services that include syncing files across multiple devices and enhance file sharing.  Such features make our documents accessible and shareable which are probably the two most necessary features in modern society.

Internet = Information

Many industries have already adopted cloud solutions and integrated them in their businesses. As for languages and translation, there seem to be a great enthusiasm for cloud adoption. In his paper Cloud Translation Luigi Muzii discusses cloud computing in translation industry and explores the impact technology had onto our everyday lives. He gives some very picturesque examples of how modern society functions.

At the beginning of the paper, Muzii mentions Harry Potter movie scene where Hermione Granger spends hours in the library looking for answers to certain questions. At the time the movie was shown in cinemas the kids of that time have already been familiar with Google Search and they wandered why Hermione didn’t simply google whatever she needed.

This example illustrates how the Internet changed the way we approach information. For translators, the online knowledge database is a valuable source to draw information from. However, this is not the only benefit translators have from Internet technology. Web-based applications improved conditions for collaboration which is essential in the age where the dominant mantra goes: “cheaper, faster and better.”

English: Cloud Computing Image

English: Cloud Computing Image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Collaborative Translation

Cloud computing applications include many features that significantly facilitate collaboration. Since the files are not tied to a local computer they can be accessed from multiple devices, so all the members of a translation team can access it at any time and any place. Besides this, the apps such as Google Docs allow different users to view and edit files simultaneously and make real time changes. Furthermore, it is not necessary to struggle with different file versions and send them back and forth to all the team members.  Most of translation workflow systems rely on such serial approaches that include multiple revisions and updates. With cloud computing applications translation process is faster and smoother which results in a greater number of projects being finished in less time. After all, this is what all industries seek to achieve.

Technological inventions all stream towards reducing the time necessary for performing particular tasks. Tools and resources provided by online services created a whole new setting for many industries. In translation cloud computing tools and techniques resulted in increased productivity and this is very important in the times of blooming publishing industry. More publications involve more translations which is why it is important that at least the technical part of translation process be facilitated as much as possible.

Resources: Cloud Translation by Luigi Muzii, available at

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